Rhino workflow tutorials?

Hi everyone

Does amybody know, if there are any tutorials about the workflow of Rhino (Or surface modeling in general)?

thanks in advance

Hi Rallyman,

I’d start here:

If you have any further questions come back here.


thanks Willem, I already watched some of them.
I should probably be a bit more specific. I usually work with SolidWorks, which is quiet different to Rhino. Especially working without a feature-tree is very new to me. Unfortunately, most tutorials show how things are made from the ground up. What I miss in most tutorials is:
How do you change/edit 3d models? Are there any strategies to make a model easier to edit?

Just generally speaking you can move, rotate, scale (1d, 2d, 3d, NU) objects. On single surfaces you can turn on the control points and move those. You can edit objects by creating a control cage and editing that one. You can flow, you can twist.

I think it would be most useful if you came with a specific case where you want to change something in a specific way. Just tell us what you find hard to edit and we’ll see if we can find an easier way…

I too am used to working with parametric modeling, like SolidWorks and having difficulty getting my wits around doing my work with NURBS. I spent a day trying to figure out how to draw an accurate circle and then changing the diameter of it. I never figured it out, but was informed that this isn’t the way this software works… any tutorials out there to help us parametric guys change our ways?

For a circle specifically there is the ModifyRadius command.

Or just scale it 2d snap from center to edge and enter new radius.

Or Boxedit

Specifically, download and go through the tutorials in the User’s Guide (on the Learn page).
It is a set of progressive tutorials that start off simple and get pretty complex.

Keep in mind Rhino is not a solid modeler like SolidWorks, but it can make solids.
Rhino is a Surface modeler.
You create surfaces and Join them to enclose a water-tight volume to make it solid, but you can always take it apart into surfaces again.

Got it, thanks. Now, how do you make a solid sheet then put a hole in it and then change the diameter of it?

Run through the tutorials so you learn enough about how Rhino works, that our description will make sense.

There are multiple ways to do any operation in Rhino, but I would use the command Box for the sheet. Then draw a circle in the proper location for the hole and run MakeHole. You can move or change the size of the hole after subselecting the hole surface with Ctrl-Shift-Left click and then run Scale2d to change radius. Untrim or DeleteHole will remove the hole.

Most commands can be found in the toolbars and menus, but all are available via the commandline. I run most commands by typing. There is a helpful search suggestion, so type ‘hole’ and any command containing hole will popup below it, easy way to discover related commands.

A few general tips:

  • Keep at least a few lines of the commandline visible and always remember to check it, many commands need input and options from the commandline.
  • Hit F1 during any command and the help for that command pops up. The help can answer many questions for you.
  • A common workflow is to create curves, and then surfaces. Keep them in separate layers and save them. Keep copies of objects in another layer before doing something destructive that could change in the future (booleans, fillets). You’ll likely need to re-build things more often, as you don’t have the feature tree parameters in Rhino, but if you have required curves/parts it is relatively quick.
  • Learn about the Gumball.
  • Understand rhino History so you can recognize when it can be helpful for you.
  • Set the most common commands you use to short aliases (Options > Aliases).
  • Look into Grasshopper after you have a solid base of Rhino for parametric capabilities.

Good luck!

1 Like

Thanks Greg,

I’m very impressed with the availability of help! Bowled over actually.

Rhino is a very different way of doing things. I can’t imagine it being an easy transition from solid modeling to surfaces, but maybe it’s not as bad as I imagine.

I have a lot of existing models that I’ve spent many hundreds of hours creating. Is there a way to import them easily? Importing subassemblies? Some of the files I imported were corrupt in some way, and more than one object in a file didn’t work when I tried it. Not sure if it can be done.

Can you recommend a sequence of tutorials that might be directed at us solid modelers? I expect there are quite a of us out there.

Also, before I go down this road, can drawings in Rhino can be used for rapid prototyping, for use in COMSOL or other multiphysics software, and for creating tooling like injection molds? powdered metal molds, etc.? I have to be able to integrate rather seamlessly with all of those downstream operations.

I am looking high and low for a modeling program to fit my needs. My inclination has been to look for solid modeling software similar to what I have and already know how to use. Changing over to NURBS based modeling makes me feel like a piano player being handed a saxophone. It could take awhile.

Thanks for your help.


What type of file are you using? How were they corrupt? If you run into issues, post a file here or send it to support.

You are not asking anything specific here but, generally speaking, yes, that works just fine.

One object came in using stl but the same object was corrupt using stp. I tried importing a large assembly using stl but got an STL file read error. The same large assembly does import using stp, but that earlier corrupt object is still corrupt while the rest of the objects appear fine at first glance. I should be able to import that corrupt object separately, then copy paste it to the rest of the assembly.

On closer inspection I see some odd artifacts. A few things that look like 2 dimensional squares, like sheets of paper. When I explode the block I can delete them. I’m not sure what effect that will have down the road. Let me know if there are preferred ways of doing this.

The large assembly takes a good little while to import, several minutes, and memory usage goes up to over 20 GB while importing, then drops to between 4 and 5 GB. Glad to see Rhino is making use of my RAM.

The shaded assembly looks fantastic in Rhino. So do some of the renderings. I’m very impressed with this.

Regarding downstream operations: Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’m not sure what I might miss. I commonly verify mass properties of solids, check for interference, etc. Being able to use the files for creating tool paths for making molds and so on.

Maybe I’ll find room for more than one CAD program on my computer.

Thanks for your help.


As Greg already tipped: Once you’re familiar with creating and modifying surfaces and solids in Rhino you could consider to use Grasshopper for setting up parametric models. Grasshopper is a powerful plugin component that lets you visually model operations on geometry in the document and put back the result into the document. E.g. you could use a numerical slider to set a diameter and setup a bunch of operations that create a hole in a slab and a corresponding rod with that diameter.
Such a model has to be setup from scratch but can be saved for re-use or reference.

Grasshopper download and documentation can be found here: http://www.grasshopper3d.com/


It sounds like maybe you are getting some untrimmed or poorly trimmed faces in the STP import - this could be Rhino’s fault or it could be in the STP file. As for the corrupt object, it is probably repairable in Rhino - please post or send this to tech@mcneel.com and we’ll take a look. If the file is very large, please zip and upload to tech via www.rhino3d.com/upload.


By using both stl and stp I was able to bring the parts into Rhino. They look great in Rhino, but I wouldn’t know how to begin to create them in Rhino. I’m a complete newbie and Rhino just works very differently. I’m going through tutorials but progress is very slow. I don’t have all the time I’d like to devote to learning Rhino. I go back to my old software and might bring the work over to Rhino to see what I can do with it. I’ve made some parts in my old program and imported them to Rhino to work with, but still… the going was very slow.

I’d like to make a suggestion to improve Rhino for Mac. I realize these may stem from what I’m used to, but maybe they could help others as well. Make the dropdown, “secondary toolbar” icons as large as the primary icon so we can go directly to the secondary tool without reading the labels. I strain to see the smaller icons and they make a layout appear overly complex, like using too many font sizes in a document. Also, maintain harmony across toolbars and tool pallets. The Solid Creation pallet has 17 tools but the pulldown secondary pallet has 18 tools. I haven’t checked them all. I have more suggestions if you’d like them.

I’m working on confidential material and can’t send files. Thanks for the offer though.

~ Steve

Good morning guys, I am Brazilian, and I am youtube channel on workflow in rhino 5
sign on the channel video every week!
Thank you!